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Guest blog by Chris Goodman, Path Project Officer for the John Muir Trust

It’s all very well having best laid plans, but the Assynt weather has no regard for them. 300 tonnes of gravel and stone, all bagged up and ready to go, were due to be helicoptered out to the path this week to provide the foundations and building blocks of the upgraded path but a combination of cloud, rain and ultimately the wind scuppered our best efforts.

Day 1 and Suilven has disappeared in the cloud. Photo © Chris Goodman
Day 1 and Suilven has disappeared in the cloud. Photo © Chris Goodman

It wasn’t necessarily windy by Assynt standards but swirling updrafts and downdrafts meant it was just too dangerous to fly. Fortunately we did get a few lulls in the wind and took the opportunity to get about 100 of the 1 tonne bags out to site which gives path contractor A.C.T. Heritage enough materials to be getting on with for the time being but we’ll need to have a 2nd attempt at getting the rest out in the next few weeks.

A bag of gravel being airlifted during a lull. Photo © Chris Goodman.
A bag of gravel being airlifted during a lull. Photo © Chris Goodman.

The airlift company were fresh from 3 weeks of lifting stone in the Lake District – part of the work the Fix the Fells project is doing to repair damage to paths caused by storm Desmond. But the crew commented how rare it is to be undertaking such a big lift in this area of the country. While other areas have seen ongoing path projects for years with regular work to repair path erosion and annual airlifts of stone – primarily undertaken by charities and NGO’s – there hasn’t been the same number of projects in this area.

It’s a reminder that this is a big undertaking and has only been made possible by the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership which has created the framework for the Assynt Foundation and John Muir Trust to work together and also lever in the funding required to deliver this £200,000 project.

Hopefully summer will arrive up here soon and we can crack on with the rest of the work without delay.

The helicopter lifting a bag of stone from the boulder field. Photo © Chris Goodman.
The helicopter lifting a bag of stone from the boulder field. Photo © Chris Goodman.

Guest blog and photography by Mandy Haggith, Director of Assynt Foundation. Find out more about the Suilven Path Project here


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